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Walt Disney Reports 101.5 Million Streaming Subscribers

By Anders Bylund – Aug 4, 2020 at 5:43PM

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The House of Mouse took a beating in the third quarter, but things could have been worse.

Media powerhouse Walt Disney (DIS -0.96%) reported third-quarter results after the closing bell on Tuesday. The COVID-19 pandemic slashed Disney's revenue and profits to the bone, but the company still reported positive adjusted earnings and free cash flow.

Disney's second quarter by the numbers

Disney's sales fell 42% year over year to $11.8 billion. Theme park revenue came in 85% lower and studio entertainment posted a 55% sales drop. Other divisions proved to be less vulnerable to coronavirus effects. For Disney's media networks, sales came in 2% below the year-ago reading. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales increased by 2%.

On the bottom line, Disney posted a $4.8 billion net loss from continuing operations. That works out to a loss of $2.61 per share under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). That loss includes a $5 billion non-cash charge for restructuring and intangible asset impairments related to Disney's international broadcast TV operations. Adjusted earnings came in at $0.08 per share after backing out these charges and other non-cash items.

A pair of scissors is about to cut a coaxial cable, held up in front of several blurred TV screens.

Image source: Getty Images.

The recently launched Disney+ video-streaming service reported 57.5 million subscribers as of June 27, up from 33.5 million three months earlier. ESPN+ subscriptions rose from 7.9 million to 8.5 million and total Hulu accounts increased from 32.1 million to 35.5 million over the same period. That adds up to 101.5 million subscribers.

"The global reach of our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer services now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions -- a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our DTC strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company," CEO Bob Chapek said in a prepared statement.

The year-over-year drops were steep but many investors had expected an even worse report from the House of Mouse. Disney's stock rose more than 4% in after-hours trading.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short October 2020 $125 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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